Did you know that February is Women in Horror month? In honor of the occasion, we present five female characters who refused to become victims.
Women in horror movies are typically being hunted, but sometimes they fight back. Four of these strong women are fictional characters, but one of them is actually based on a real person. Before reading on, be aware that spoilers lie ahead!
5. Amelia – The Babadook
Not only does this critically acclaimed horror film feature a strong female character, it was also written and directed by a woman, Jennifer Kent. The Babadook premiered at Sundance in 2014, but really took off when it began streaming on Netflix.
Amelia is a widowed single mother, and her six-year-old son Samuel is…let’s say “challenging.” He is precocious, clingy, rarely sleeps and constantly sees imaginary monsters, which he believes he must fight with homemade weapons. Making things even worse, his new favorite story is the world’s creepiest pop-up book, Mister Babadook. Mr. Babadook is a frightening top-hatted creature who embodies the dreaded boogeyman feared by children everywhere, and Sam believes he is real.
As the exhausted Amelia starts to have visions of the Babadook, and of herself harming her own son, she at first seems to become a victim, even threatening Sam. But, just when we think all is lost, and that Amelia might actually kill her son (and then be killed herself), her motherly instincts kick in and she fights back.
In the end, Samuel and Amelia are safe, and Mister Babadook is confined to the basement, where he lives on worms fed to him by Amelia (yuck).
The Babadook can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Vudu, as well as other streaming platforms.
4. Sarah – The Descent
2005’s The Descent (which featured the excellent tagline of “Chicks with Picks”) was chock-full of strong women and ended up on many “Best of” lists upon its release in 2005. Though the film was originally envisioned with a mixed cast of men and women, in the end, all six main roles were cast with women. And, even though most of them die, they are a group of very strong women in horror.
Sarah, Juno, Beth, Sam, Rebecca, and Holly are adventure-seekers who decide to spelunk in the Appalachian Mountains. Sarah lost her husband and daughter in an accident a year earlier, and her friends are hoping that the trip will help her get over her grief.
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Juno has chosen a particular cave for the women to explore, and they are trapped within it when part of the cave collapses. Worse yet, they find out that Juno did not choose a well-charted cave as she had claimed; instead, this one is largely unexplored, which makes rescue unlikely.
Being trapped deep within the earth sounds really bad, right? Well, it gets even worse from there, because this cave is populated with creepy, pale-skinned, blind humanoid creatures who need to eat. And, they are not vegetarian.
The women become separated in the cave, and Sarah, who has seemed fragile and wounded through the entire film, suddenly becomes a fighter. Not only does she manage to fight off the fast-moving creatures, but she also lashes out at her friend Juno, who, it turns out, accidentally killed one of the other women and lied about it. Adding insult to injury, it seems she was also having an affair with Sarah’s late husband.
Depending on whether you saw the original UK ending, or the “happier” US ending, Sarah actually survives the cave adventure by literally clawing her way out of the earth.
The Descent can be streamed on Vudu, Amazon Prime, and other platforms.